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NCAA adopts multiple changes to benefit player flexibility

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The NCAA is implementing changes to benefit the players.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Texas A&M vs Providence Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA will be adopting some rule changes based on the recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball, the organization announced Wednesday in a press release.

The NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors adopted a series of significant policy and legislative changes, setting in motion actions to change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally. These changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor.

The changes are as follows:

  • High school basketball student-athletes can make more frequent campus visits paid for by colleges (referred to as official visits). The visits can begin as soon as the summer before their junior year.
  • Elite high school basketball recruits and college players can be represented by an agent who can help them make informed decisions about going pro.
  • Agents must be certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations.
  • Student-athletes will be able to participate in the NBA draft and return to school if undrafted, pending future action from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Currently, college athletes who are interested in going pro can declare for the draft and attend the NBA combine, but must withdraw no more than 10 days after the combine to stay eligible.
  • Division I schools will be required to pay for tuition, fees and books for men’s and women’s basketball players who left school and returned later to the same school to earn their degree. The NCAA is establishing a fund for schools who are otherwise unable to provide this aid.

At first glance, there’s a lot to like here. These changes are clearly laid out to give players the best opportunity to make an informed decision regarding their NBA hopes. Allowing players to be represented by agents is obviously a huge stepping stone, and allowing them to return to school if they go undrafted is great as well (although it will likely require a rule change or approval from the NBA).

These obviously don’t fix every problem, but it’s a step in the right direction from the NCAA. Given their past history and all of the controversy that’s surrounded some of their decisions in recent years, it’s a refreshing change to see some positive changes coming to the sport.

You can read more about the details of the changes here.